A Year in Review
So Julia, you’ve been graduated a year. WHAT on EARTH have you been doing?
—is what I imagine onlookers saying. Or perhaps it’s just me saying this to myself.
In any case, I’d like to tell you. :)
When I first graduated from the Mannes College of Music last year, I was all ready and gung-ho to throw myself in the world of auditioning. I attended some open calls, polished up a website, submitted for 5,000 student films on Backstage. And, well….
Okay, I thought, maybe the answer is to get an agent. There was no agent showcase at my school—it was opera school, after all.
So I found out a company in the city had a program for young actors fresh out of college. Workshops with casting directors, on-camera classes, commercial classes, and at the end…. drum roll please…
An AGENT SHOWCASE.
Let me tell you: I cried the first day.
I’m in over my head, I thought, I can’t do this! All these other people look so good on screen, they know what they’re doing. I’m trained, I have a full two years of Meisner from one of the best schools in the city, but I STILL can’t do this? What is wrong with me?!?!
(For those of you who don’t know, I went to The Maggie Flanigan Meisner Acting Studio at night time WHILE completing my bachelors in voice. Good program… but two schools at once? A LITTLE crazy. Whoops.)
Thus began the journey. See, I didn’t get an agent from that program. But I learned a few things that were incredibly valuable and exactly what I needed. Perhaps they will also be of use to you.
In summary, they were these:
In order to succeed in the acting world, you have to be MARKETABLE for the acting world. Not just trained. Not just talented.
As a recent graduate still carrying lingering traces of “opera singer,” I wasn’t marketable in obvious and fixable ways.
The simplest and most obvious solutions are usually the right ones.
…So I set about changing the things I knew needed to be different.
I lost twenty-five pounds. I got new headshots.
I hit the pavement, did the dirty work, got some experience on camera and built up a film reel.
An amazing musical theater audition coach, Aaron Galligan-Stierle, helped me build a professional level audition book, and some extremely patient teachers, among them Natalie Weiss and Mary Saunders-Barton, helped to revamp my singing technique (read, less operatic, more theatrical sound).
Got a more firmly held grip on my acting technique. Rehabbed an old knee injury.
Kept auditioning. Kept making things. Kept participating in projects.
Hustle, hustle, hustle!!!
And—like magic, divine intervention, serendipitous coincidence (whatever you want to call it)—along the way, things began to happen. A few glorious bursts of progress amidst the elbow grease and the struggle.
I fell in love.
Made a short film with my best friend. Made a bunch more short films with new friends.
Got my face in The New York Times!!
So thank you to those who have given me hard truths this year. It has made all the difference.
Where to now? Stay tuned.